You Be The Vet: When to Get Your Pet’s Eyes Checked


Are your pet’s eyes bright red and swollen?

Are your pet’s eyes bright red and swollen? Or are you staring into those loving eyes and you can’t quite place it, but something doesn’t look quite right? The symptoms of eye disease in pets range from “glaringly” obvious, through to a slightly glassy appearance. And severe eye disease is often not reflected by severe signs – often the changes are inside the eye itself and difficult to see without special equipment. Still, your vigilance keeping watch on your pet’s eyes and getting them seen by the vet quickly can make the difference between transient disease and permanent blindness. But what to look out for? And what will your vet do?

Are Their Eyes Red?

Are your pet’s eyes looking more red than normal? The increased redness can be from several areas: the white of the eye, the skin underneath the eyelids, or within the coloured part of the eye.
Causes of redness in these areas ranges from irritation of the outside of the eye, through to dramatic increases in the pressure inside the eyeball, called glaucoma. This latter condition is an emergency – if treatment is not commenced within 24 hours, blindness is almost guaranteed. The only way to tell the difference between a glaucoma and other causes or red eyes is to use a tonometer, which checks the internal pressure of the eye itself. Not all clinics have this instrument – if not coming to see us, ensure that your vet does prior to your consultation.

Are they Blinking A Lot?

An increase in blinking also has a number of causes, such as irritation to the surface of the eye and reduced production of tears resulting in dry eyes. Your vet can check for reduced tear production using a quick test during your consultation.

Are they Holding Their Eyes Closed?

This can also be a sign of glaucoma, which can result in rapid onset of and permanent blindness if untreated. It can also be caused by a variety of other eye conditions. Don’t take the risk – get it checked out by a vet!

Is There Discharge Coming from Their Eyes?

This can be a sign of inflammation of the skin under the eyelids surrounding the eye – commonly known as conjunctivitis. It can be caused by bacterial infections or by irritation to the skin. However pets with Dry Eye will often also have thick mucousy discharge coming from their eyes, or staining of the surrounding fur. This is because in dry eye not enough of the watery lubricant component of the tears is produced. The other components such as natural anti-bacterials are still produced in the same amounts. Without the lubricant, these other components clump around the eye. This condition is not just uncomfortable, it can also lead to more chronic damage to the eye itself, and requires medication.

Do One or Both of the Eyes Appear Glassy?

Sometimes this is the only warning we see when glaucoma has started to develop. You might feel silly booking in an appointment because your pet’s eyes are a “little glassy”, but don’t! We’re here to help, and the sooner we can diagnose glaucoma, the better the chances of us saving your pets eyesight!

If you’re concerned about your pet’s eyes, book in an appointment to see us straight away!

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